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Old 10-25-2011
tomoy tomoy is offline
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Default Breathing and Balance

I've been thinking about breathing. And to summarize, I think I learn from TI that we want to breath regularly, relaxedly, but also fully, by exhaling and inhaling deeply. Also, that relaxed breathing helps oxygenate our blood better, so our whole body is more buoyant than if we were struggling and gasping to breath. So far so good.

In music training and in yoga, we learn that _where_ we're putting our air is significant. Panicked forced breathing all happens in the upper chest. Relaxed, full and powerful breathing puts the air deeply into the abdomen and lower back. Wouldn't that also help balance in the water? Not sure how important this is, but it might help me.

We know that when we fill our lungs, we're more buoyant. When we exhale fully, we ride low in the water. Add to that when we're out of breath and unsure of where/when we'll get our next breath (rough water), we panic. Panicking puts the air high, around our shoulders. Deep relaxed breathing puts the air lower, towards our hips.

So I think I'm concluding that the more slowly, and relaxedly I can breath and move the air further down into my belly, the better horizontal balance I can achieve in the water.

If there's any question here, it's wondering if this goes counter to wanting to bite off a mouth of air quickly so that you can get your head back into a face-down position - which is more important? To breath quickly or slowly and where does this affect stroke tempo? ... okay, back to work :-)
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Old 10-25-2011
Richardsk Richardsk is offline
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If you breathe out enough air your bite of air will provide enough oxygen until the next breath. I think that work on "belly breathing" or diaphragmatic breathing will pay off. Some recommend expelling all your air explosively before taking the next breath, but others recommend a constant trickle of air. I tend to the constant trickle school of thought but am not absolutely convinced that it's the right answer.

Any thoughts on this?
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Old 10-26-2011
The Parrot The Parrot is offline
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Tomoy, I don't think there can be a consistent 'rule' for breathing in swimming or any other sport. It depends on your body's current needs. In ultra-distance running, which was my main game the idea was to always run at a conversational pace, ie a pace at which you could run, breath and hold a conversation without gasping. Clearly when running shorter distances within 5 beats of max. heart rate you are not going to be doing much talking but breathing deep and hard and you will probably only keep that up for 3 - 5 miles - if you are fit. I have transferred the same idea to my swimming with TI. I swim a mile or more almost every day and I take shallow breaths - no more breath than I need, unless someone begins to come up on my shoulder when I have a Pavlovian response and accelerate, which demands more air.

Where I have found it helpful to breath right out is on open-turns, during the underwater glide phase. This seems to help by keeping you down a bit longer at a reasonable speed and gives you a chance to clear the accumulated CO2 from the lungs; enabling a good intake of oxygen-rich air with the first couple of deep but not gasping breaths when resuming stroking.

Sorry about the length of this but I have the very bad habit of never using one word when nine will do . . .

Martin T.
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Old 10-27-2011
tomoy tomoy is offline
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I appreciate all the words. Especially the Pavlovian :-) Competition must be a pretty deep instinct. I don't consider myself very competitive, but notice that my pace quickens when someone around my same speed is in the lane. If they're WAY faster, I know my place.
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Old 10-27-2011
The Parrot The Parrot is offline
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But even then you find yourself trying something different with hands, roll, reach and so on just to see if it makes a difference or makes up the difference!!

I think this may still be relevant to your thread - some of us just never seem to grow up even as we grow older. I don't want to rust out and I can't see the Terry's of this swimming world doing so either. The sad fact is that we all lose about 10% of our oxygen uptake every 10 years which means that wrinklies like me should never beat a good 25 year old over a mile. But when it comes to long endurance events where O2 uptake is far less critical and other factors come into play, we can still compete. Being introduced to TI with its emphasis on efficiency through the water can give a second life to ancient athletes and does sometimes enable us to give the 30somethings in our pools quite a surprise.
Long may it be so. . .

Martin T
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